Being like Dada Vaswani

The author reminisces about his divine encounter with Dada J P Vaswani one beautiful Sunday morning

Dada Vaswani and Manoj Khatri
The author basking in the glorious presence of Dada JP Vaswani

I met Rev. Dada J P Vaswani many times, and on every single occasion, he stirred something deep in me—with his humility, his simplicity and his radiantly infectious smile. Being in his presence was like bathing in the warmth of a divine love. Even into his late 90s, the glow on his face was like that of an innocent child.

On the occasion of his 104th birthday, I am reminded of a beautiful December morning. It was a Sunday and, accompanied by my wife and mom, I was headed towards the Sadhu Vaswani Mission [SVM] Centre in Pune for the morning satsang. As we entered the hall, the kirtan was going on and Dada was sitting meditatively, with his eyes closed. The SVM team received us warmly and, to my delight, helped us find seats right in the front. I was happy to see Dada and was eagerly waiting to meet and interact with him after the discourse — he interacts freely with all who attend.

What happened next will remain etched in my memory forever.

Dada saw the divine in all

As the kirtan came to an end, Dada slowly opened his eyes, lovingly looked all around, gave a loving smile of acknowledgement when he saw me. He then brought the microphone close to him, and I expected that he would begin his discourse. But, instead, he made an announcement. He said, “Today, we have among us a dear friend of mine, for whom I have great respect and reverence. I hold him in the highest esteem—Mr. Manoj Khatri.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing even as my heart started pounding.

Dada continued, “There were innumerable newspapers and magazines published in India. But he is the editor of one of the best magazines in India. He has come amidst us to bless us. I am grateful to him and I greet him with all the love of my heart. He is a man of knowledge, understanding, love…he is a man of sweetness and strength.”

He then requested the chairperson of the SVM trust to felicitate me, my wife and my mother and even asked me to address the satsangis present.

I was choked, my eyes welling up. I felt myself overcome with emotion, partly because it was all so surreal but also because while I didn’t believe I deserved any of the praise he showered on me, I knew that Dada did—he recognised the divine in me.

That’s what made Dada Vaswani so different—he practised what most only preach. He never held back his kindness and love. He gave it away all too freely. And his humility is the stuff of legend.

You are that!

I recall the first time I had met him several years ago, and I bent down to touch his feet and seek his blessings, he had looked into my eyes and said, “You bless me. You are that.”

What enables a man such as Dada who had millions of devotees around the world, who was respected and admired by spiritual leaders like the His Holiness the Dalai Lama, to see God in ordinary individuals like me?

I believe Dada had cultivated the divine sight. In my opinion, only the divine in us can recognise the divine in another. Till he was in form, Dada remained connected with his divinity—and that is only possible for someone who has conquered his ego and lives in the moment, fully awake.

Being like Dada Vaswani

I, too, have experienced egoless moments—fleeting instances when I feel connected to every atom in the Universe, when every cell of my being is filled with love—a feeling that cannot be described, only experienced. Dada lived in that state.

Having witnessed Dada’s interactions with people over the years has reaffirmed my belief that there’s no evil or divine outside of me: evil resides in me as the ego; the divine lives in me as love. The greatness of Dada was that he always overlooked the weaknesses in us and focused his attention only on our goodness. I wish I could be like Dada and see only the divine in others—and in myself.

The Moment of Calm

2nd August, which is Dada Vaswani’s birthday, is observed as the Global Forgiveness Day and on that day every year, at exactly 2pm, we observe the moment of calm for two minutes.

The Moment of Calm is a global peace initiative that aims at bringing calm in the hearts of people through the power of forgiveness and love.

To know more, and to share the Forgiveness E-Band, visit The Moment of Calm website.

A version of this article first appeared in the June 2014 issue of Complete Wellbeing magazine.

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Manoj Khatri
Manoj Khatri has spent the last two decades learning, teaching and writing about wellbeing and mindful living. He has contributed over 1500 articles for several newspapers and magazines including The Times of India, The Economic Times, The Statesman, Mid-Day, Bombay Times, Femina, and more. He is a counseling therapist and the author of What a thought!, a critically acclaimed best-selling book on self-transformation. An award-winning editor, Manoj runs Complete Wellbeing and believes that "peace begins with me".


  1. Very well articulated. I could visualize those moments as if they were happening before my eyes.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. Can’t take any credit though — sometimes words just flow out without any volition on one’s part.

  2. What a great article Manoj? Every experience is so unique. Thoughts & Ideas presented so well. Keep it up


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